imperial constitution of haiti, 1805
In the Imperial Palace of Dessalines, May 20, Year II:
We, H. Christophe, Clervaux, Vernet, Gabart, Pétion, Ge√rard, Toussaint-
Brave, Raphaël, Lalondrie, Romain, Capois, Magny, Cangé, Daut, Magloire
Ambroise, Yayou, Jean-Louis François, Gérin, Férou, Bazelais, Martial Besse,
Acting in our own name and in that of the people of Haiti, who have
constituted us legally as faithful organs and interpreters of their will,
In the presence of the Supreme Being, before whom all mortals are equal,
and who has scattered so many species of beings over the surface of the
earth, with the sole goal of manifesting his glory and his might through the
diversity of his works;
Before the whole creation, whose disowned children we have so unjustly
and for so long been considered:
We declare that the terms of the present Constitution are the free, sponta-
neous, and determined expression of our hearts and of the general will of
our fellow citizens;
We submit it to the approval of His Majesty the Emperor Jacques Des-
salines, our liberator, to receive its quick and complete implementation.
Article 1. The people who live on the island formerly called Saint Domingue
agree to constitute themselves in a free and sovereign State that is indepen-
dent from all other powers of the universe, under the name ‘‘Empire of
Article 2. Slavery is abolished forever.
Article 3. The Haitian citizens are brothers to each other; equality in the eye
of the Law is indisputably recognized; there cannot be any titles, advantages,
and privileges other than those necessarily resulting from the regard and
compensation for services rendered for liberty and independence.
Article 4. The law is the same for all, whether it punishes or protects.
Article 5. The law does not have retroactive e√ect.
Article 6. Property is sacred; any violation thereof will be rigorously pros-